MASSIVE losses suffered by one of Jim Davidson's pantomime companies does not threaten a newly-signed deal between the TV comic and Sunderland's Empire Theatre.

A week after Davidson announced he was bringing the £800,000 production of Peter Pan to Wearside, the news broke that Effective Theatrical Productions had lost "hundreds of thousands of pounds".

A multi-million-pound version of Dick Whittington at the Apollo, Hammersmith, London, starring Davidson, ran into trouble last Christmas.

Davidson's company had intended running Peter Pan, starring Brian Blessed, at Hammersmith this year, but the deal was called off with Apollo owners SFX. The Empire at Sunderland is now being run by SFX and Peter Pan was swiftly moved to the regional theatre.

An Effective Theatrical Productions spokeswoman said: "In view of the losses with Dick Whittington at Hammersmith, it was mutually agreed between Jim Davidson and SFX that Peter Pan would not play that venue.

"Peter Pan is such a big and spectacular production that it needed a major theatre and fortunately the Sunderland Empire was available. It is an ideal and record-breaking product to launch Jim's new association with the Sunderland Empire."

Wendy Middleton, press officer at Sunderland's Empire, said: "All Jim's pantomimes have done extremely well at regional theatres . . . and far outweighs problems at one London venue."